Nissan Leaf Can’t Handle the Heat

Two years after the Department of Energy gave Japanese carmaker Nissan a $1.4 billion loan to retrofit a Tennessee plant for electric car production, consumers are claiming that the Nissan Leaf loses up to half of its battery life in severe heat.

The National Legal and Policy Center reports:

"When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip," said one Phoenix-area Leaf owner to CBS television affiliate KPHO. Now, "I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge."

The usefulness of an electric car that costs at least twice the equivalent gas-powered vehicle, at a 90-mile range, that requires hours to fully recharge, is dubious at best. At 44 miles it’s nearly worthless to the average American traveler. Yet the two owners interviewed by the TV station said every time they’ve visited a Nissan dealership about the problem, they were told it is "normal."

A 50-percent capacity loss in one year is far from acceptable, especially when Nissan only warranties the Leaf battery for eight years or 100,000 miles. But the heat problems owners are experiencing aren’t limited to Arizona; a Web site forum called has hosted an extensive discussion among owners who have experienced the capacity loss in other hot locales such as Texas and California.